Chip maker Qualcomm announced a major acquisition today: it will acquire Santa Clara-based silicon company Nuvia for $1.4 billion. Qualcomm intends to use Nuvia̵
Nuvia was founded in 2019 by three former Apple semiconductor executives. This startup has been developing custom CPU core designs for servers, and its company profile often mentions its mission to “reimagine” silicon design. But Qualcomm believes that Nuvia technology applications will surpass servers.
Qualcomm’s press release stated that Nuvia will “improve CPU performance and power efficiency step functions to meet the needs of next-generation 5G computing.” Nuvia’s technology is used in “personnel assistance systems, extended reality and infrastructure network solutions”.
Like the recently released Apple Silicon series chips, Nuvia’s chips are based on the ARM architecture, but they are not fully licensed by ARM. This will enable Qualcomm to obtain higher profits when developing chips, which can help Qualcomm more directly compete with Apple’s chips. Qualcomm has provided ARM-based chips for machines designed by Samsung and Microsoft.
According to Crunchbase, smaller companies have fewer than 100 employees, so the acquisition may mainly involve intellectual property. However, the press release does state that the founder of Nuvia “and his employees” will join Qualcomm.
The announcement includes statements supporting the acquisition, as well as statements that may come from many technology companies such as Microsoft, Asus, Google, General Motors, and LG. In other words, the acquisition is part of a strategy adopted by Qualcomm and its customers and partners to counter the growing awareness that Apple chips are faster and more efficient.
In 2019, Apple sued one of Nuvia’s founders, Gerard Williams III (Gerard Williams III), claiming that he had tried to recruit new Apple employees before leaving Apple. However, the lawsuit did not allege theft of intellectual property rights.